kent_allard_jr: (Dungeon Master)
These days I've been working on a multi-genre book for Two-Fisted Tales, tentatively titled Worlds of Wonder. (Yeah, I know this was a Chaosium game. Hope they don't have the rights...) Right now the superhero section is close to done, but others -- sword & sorcery, swashbuckling and space opera -- are only briefly sketched out. (I feel obligated to include a Western chapter, too, but I have no idea what to put in it.)

So far, my focus in the swashbuckling section has been on expanding the combat rules. In 2FT most rounds of combat will end with one person getting injured, and with those injuries mucking him up. That's the way I wanted it: Quick action and quick resolution. It doesn't really simulate the Errol Flynn swordfight very well, though, in which blow after blow is blocked, dodged or parried until one side drops to the ground. So I've been thinking of ways to put the swackbuckling duel into Two-Fisted Tales; the most promising approach, as I see it, is to give characters a lot more cards, but only give these defensive uses.

For inspiration I've been watching fencing film clips on YouTube. One of my favorites is this one from The Mark of Zorro:

Another is this scene in Scaramouche:

There's also the goofy swordfight at the beginning of The Princess Bride, of course, but I'm sure you've all seen that one.
kent_allard_jr: (Default)
There's a new Green Hornet movie coming out, although it looks like direct-to-DVD quality:
It's interesting how Kato's competence, relative to his boss, has changed over the years. I listened to the old radio shows and Kato, while clearly second-fiddle, was a smart and a capable guy. In the 60s TV show (which I haven't seen) Bruce Lee's character was so much better in a fight that folks wondered what the Green Hornet was good for. In today's movie it looks like the Hornet can't even use his gas gun properly, and Kato treats his "boss" with polite condescension.

It recalls an old idea I had of a superhero team member, a guy who had a job and an apartment where his team-mates could sleep and put their leotards on. (This was no doubt inspired by Arthur in The Tick.) Today the Green Hornet is just a schmuck who buys stuff to help Kato kick-ass. It reflects a more egalitarian take on the world, and I think it's more realistic, too. Ask yourself, who would make a better superhero: Paris Hilton, or your average struggling community college student? I'd vote for the second myself, as long as someone else was paying the girl's bills.
kent_allard_jr: (Default)
The GF and I were lying on the couch together, she leafing through my copy of Gotham while I began reading Emma. I found my book difficult to get into, and said as much to Kimberly. I then saw Hammett's Red Harvest nearby. "THIS is what writing SHOULD be!" I said to her, picking up the novel and reading the first couple of pages, with excerpts like this:
The first policeman I saw needed a shave. The second had a couple of buttons off his shabby uniform. The third stood in the center of the city's main intersection ... directing traffic, with a cigar in one corner of his mouth. After that I stopped checking them up.
And this fine piece of dialogue:
"What's the rumpus?" I asked him.
He looked at me carefully before he replied, as if he wanted to be sure the information was going into safe hands. His eyes were gray as his clothes, but not so soft.
"Don Willsson's gone to sit on the right hand of God, if God don't mind looking at bullet holes."
"Who shot him?" I asked.
The gray man scratched the back of his neck and said:
"Someone with a gun."
I asked Kim if she wanted to take some Continental Op stories on an upcoming trip.

"I don't know," she said. "I like books with emotion."
"Aw, there's plenty of emotion in Hammett novels."
"Like what?"
"Well, um ... there's contempt."

She laughed heartily, ending with a shake of the head and an "awwww, honey!" in that fine Southern voice of hers. No sale, I guess.

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kent_allard_jr

August 2012

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